11.21.2008

NCN Convention ART

For those of you who may not know, the NCN is an organization (or "network") of artists who love, practice, and promote the art of caricature. Each year there is a convention and competition over the course of a week, where nearly 200 artists gather to attend workshops, seminars, classes, meet old and new friends, draw, paint, sculpt, and compete for awards or sheer pleasure. It is like nothing else you will ever experience, and I highly recommend anyone even mildly into portraits and/or caricatures, illustration, figurative work, character design, etc... to haul over to caricature.org and sign up. The 17th convention began a few weeks ago in Raleigh, NC. Over 200 people attended, and it was a blast.

This year I finally had a chance to relax a little bit, but still had a lot to do. All professionals that register for the convention are given a wall space, a sort of gallery, to exhibit the work they do over this week. When I finally got the chance to do some drawings, here is what I came up with:



I have to give great credit to Buffalo/San Diego artist Brian Oakes for doing some stellar work, as did many artists. Brian was among my biggest inspirations this year, and his work was hilarious, fun, editorial and original. He inspired the final drawing I did, which happened to be of him (at the very top, "sad eyes").

Jeremy Townsend is another incredible artist whose work is always commenting on the individual (sometimes TOO much... but that's what's great about it). He sees everything and is not afraid to throw it back into your face. Jeremy is a big fella, and has a loud mouth and personality. He's one of my best friends, and I've seen many drawings of him that are so great, it's not easy to figure out how to do something new. I've drawn him once or twice before, but completed only one finished caricature of his face. When I saw him standing from across the room, he made this face... it's the only time he's vulnerable and not "on". He grabs his big beard and tugs it down with his teeeeeeensy little mouth agape, his eyes darting around. He's either contemplating an art supply to go snatch from someone, or getting an idea for a new drawing/thinking of who to take a photo of next. This happens so rarely, but it's a big part of his expression and body language. I tried to figure out how to express to the viewer that he is vulnerable in this one moment... stumped... and thought the ambiguity of the baby was fitting.



Blah blah blah... I know, I'm going on and on about Jeremy and why I did this. Well, to be honest it's the only piece I was VERY excited about, and it's something different from my usual arsenal of styles or techniques. I am a true believer that we are NEVER a master, and always a student (in many ways). As soon as I fall back on old party tricks, I fail as an artist and fail myself. This was a fun painting and I enjoyed the simplicity of the messy, light acrylic paint. When it comes to my own work at this convention, I feel I learned more from creating this piece than I did from all the other ones I did, combined. This is important to me, and I feel it should be to all artists. You should never stop growing, learning and being passionate about all aspects of your work... this keeps you vibrant, excited and fresh.
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15 comments:

KEV said...

awesome. that oakes sketch is spot-on. and his pre-beard is funny too.

is that nate faber-castell and chartpak?

KEV said...

oh and i just noticed that your wall is mostly beards. hah

Jim said...

I have to say that the Jeremy painting is hilarious. Nice job. I wish I could have made this years convention...next year for sure.

ramanjit said...

hi guru,
this is awesome!!!!
the man with sad eyes & the last baby with huge man i love that one.its awesomeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!
and also THE FINAL WORDS OF YOUR POST ill keep that in my mind always.
thank for every thing.

Jason Seiler said...

Joe, everything you did this year was inspiring and injected with life! The acrylic you did of Jert is by far my favorite, it's simplicity drives me nuts. With such simple color and shape you were able to capture Jert in a way that is actually complex. You're quite the talent my friend and I love your humble heart and attitude as well as willingness to share and spread your knowledge! Awesome stuff buddy!

justfrancesca said...

well said.

marcobucci said...

great work Joe - always love your caricature sketches. A Bluhm drawing is easy to spot, but never repetitive.

Vincenzo said...

Love the "Jert" piece...it's got a Covarrubias feel to it, awesome!

Everybody's gotta be in a Gang said...

Very true words, Joe- I agree completely. I wish the illustration world felt the same way...

Great work as usual this year- especially the one of Jert.

Marion said...

I love the simplicity of this one and the thin acrylic technique you used. IMHO you didn't even need to put a baby next to him to symbolize his vulnerability.
The big eyes, the massive body, the light coming from the back already demonstrate that. Great atmosphere!

jert said...

thanks for the painting man.... I love it.

Jeff Peak said...

Great work all around, however Jert's painting does stand out among the rest. A bit of different style compared to the rest of your work, but I think you knocked it out of the park with this one.

Jean-Marc Borot said...

As always, your work is incredible. And I really agree with what you say, about "always being a student". You've got something special, you dare. And you improve, always.
I often speak with my friend Ch Bodard about this, being alive and try to improve (and about your work) ...because we have a problem : we don't dare.
Bravo, best "caricature-student"

Maritze said...

These are brilliant, actually everything is great on your blog!

Thanks for popping by my blog and for the comment!

Kristen McCabe said...

Wow! That Jert Piece is Awesome! You deserve a high-five.